Yesterday, I posted a bit of the history of Pride Month in the U.S., and as I mentioned there, I took up all my space talking about the history of the month, and didn’t leave room for all the fun things. This post incorporates some of last year’s post, but also some new things that show some of the many ways the month is celebrated, people who have been prominent in bringing LGBTQ issues to the forefront, pictures, etc. Last year, Pride events were severely curtailed with nearly all in-person Pride marches, demonstrations and parades being canceled or turned into virtual events because of safety considerations due to the pandemic. But with the vaccine rollout continuing around the world, many organizers have resumed plans to hold in-person Pride events and more than 150 official Pride festivals and events are happening around the world in 2021. But first, let’s look back at a few of my favourites from years past …
This one dates back to 2019, but it’s one of my favourite stories to celebrate Pride Month. One of the things I found most fun takes place at the London Zoo. You might remember a post I wrote in October 2018 about Sphen and Magic, two same-sex penguins in Sydney, Australia, who were given a baby penguin to raise. Well, the London Zoo has its own celebrity couple, Ronnie and Reggie.To celebrate the pair and similar animal couples, in 2019 the zoo gave a “Pride makeover” to its Zoo Night event on July 5. In addition to regular Zoo Night festivities, the zoo taught about gender, mating and same-sex animal pairings.
Like Sphen and Magic, Ronnie and Reggie adopted an egg that was abandoned by another couple, sharing parenting duties of their chick Kyton until he fledged the nest. Though their baby is now grown, Ronnie and Reggie are still going strong and are often found snuggling in their nest box. The zoo is home to 93 penguins total, and Ronnie and Reggie are not the only same-sex couple. 👍
How ‘bout a beer? The makers of Bud Light are very LGBTQ-friendly, and for two decades have partnered with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). Last year, they did something pretty cool to honour the LGBTQ community. Take a look …Bud Light sold the rainbow-colored aluminum bottles in bars nationwide from May 27 to June 30 and donated to GLAAD $1 from each case sold. 👍
This is Jiwandeep Kohli, a Sikh man from San Diego. Last June, he posted this picture on Twitter, and the response was overwhelming … it garnered nearly 152,000 likes, and was re-tweeted more than 21,000 times, including once by none other than President Obama!!! 👍
CNN did a nice piece highlighting six LGBTQ activists: Billie Jean King, Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, Larry Kramer, and RuPaul Charles. Of these, I had only heard of the first two, but the piece is well worth a read, for these six people have been key players in the fight for LGBTQ rights. And on a personal note, if you have never seen the film Milk, starring Sean Penn, now is the time. I am not a fan of Mr. Penn, but I saw this movie several years ago, and … I promise you will love Harvey Milk, and you will need a box of tissues. At least check it out, and also the piece by CNN. 👍
Pride Month is not only celebrated in the U.S., but ‘round the world. Last year, due to the pandemic, most events were virtual, but this year, with things beginning to open back up, there were many parades and celebrations. Here are a few of this year’s international celebrations …
Copenhagen WorldPride 2021
Madrid Pride 2021
Celebrating a half-century of LGBTQ+ liberation in one of the best cities in Spain, MADO (Madrid Pride) is a colorful week-long party with open air concerts, parties, art, culture and sport, all taking place in Chueca: Madrid’s famous gay neighborhood and the very center of the city. The climax is the parade, with over 2 million attendees expected in 2021.
NYC Pride 2021
30 days, 50+ events, 3 million people. The event’s attached nonprofit, Heritage of Pride, plans and produces the city’s first and only official LGBTQIA+ Pride events each year to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969: the beginning of the modern Gay Rights movement. Even the police get into the spirit!
Paris Pride 2021
Marche des Fiertés LGBTQ is a historic event for the French capital, born in the 80’s when a group of locals from the community united over a fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Disneyland Paris is throwing a magical Pride celebration on in June 2021.
Berlin Pride 2021
Berlin Pride is one of the biggest European Pride events of the year. Known by locals as CSD (Christopher Street Day), the event is a gay landmark that’s been celebrated in Berlin since 1979. Today, four decades later, over one million people gather each year to honor LGBTQ+ equality and self-determination in Germany. Attendees of CSD can expect everything from official club nights in Kreuzberg to queer film screenings across the city.
London Pride 2021
Pride in London is “about the people, for the people.” This year’s theme is #PrideJubilee, remembering fifty years of activism, protests and victories that have made the movement what it is today.
There are many more such events all ’round the globe from Amsterdam to Mexico and everywhere in between, and you can find information about many other parades and celebrations here. Note that some cities are postponing their parades until later in the year, in hopes that the pandemic will have further receded.
There is much, much more I could write, many more wonderful events to cover, but time and space are limited. Sadly, in this, the 21st century, discrimination against the LGBTQ community still exists. But, there are positive signs, too. Earlier this month sisters Dawn & Miranda, co-owners of a small Lufkin, Texas bakery, saw both the negative and the positive when they advertised their Pride cookies …
The following day, the sisters saw order after order being cancelled and messages of hate left on their website. But then … after the sisters posted about their plight, about the hate they were receiving, they became an overnight hit! People from as far away as Washington state, Minnesota, New York, Canada, Brazil and the United Kingdom sent messages of support and their entire stock of baked goods sold out by mid-afternoon. By the end of the next day, they had gained some 2,500 new social media followers!
When there was nothing left to buy, customers began simply donating money to the sisters … money that they then donated to Wendy’s Misfits Animal Rescue, an all-volunteer non-profit in Lufkin. See how love can overcome hate? It really can, my friends.
To all my friends who are part of the LGBTQ community … HUGE hugs and much love to you all!!!